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William Blackwells (d.1514??) descendants and relations.

(c)Draft Nov.1995 David Blackwell dcblackwell at gmail dot.com

William Blackwell is a common name but I believe William Blackwell of Watford whose 1514 will mentions his son Robert and a Philip is the same William Blackwell of this court case where Robert is his younger son and Philip is his grandson.  William may be a descendant of Robert and Isabel (Litton) Blackwell.  Isabel is reportedly the sister of  Sir Robert Litton subtreasurer or Keeper of the Great Wardrobe of Henry VII. The land in question is probably dowery land of Isabel Litton which goes to her descendants.  It is possible this William is "Sir" William Blackwell parson and rector of Ash in Kent, and the son of Richard and Agnes(Tunstead) Blackwell, but it is more likely  this William is the son of Robert and Isabel Blackwell.  Unfortunately we have no record or reference to any children of Robert and Isabel except for Richard.  So this question remains open.

The court case and related records:

Chancery court case C3/209/78 PFF4393 1575-87
Chancery Proc. Series II p.15 (and is in Bernau Index at Society of Genealogist, London)
shows a land dispute among the great-grandchildren of a William10 Blackwell concerning 3 messuages held in fee tail in Litton and Tideswell, Derbyshire, England (Litton is part of the parish of Tideswell).  It shows connections between London, Watford Blackwells and the Derbyshire Blackwells.

This case is brought by Margaret Frost13 of London , niece to Philip12 Blackwell of Litton, Derbyshire and great granddaughter to William.  I'm sure she was a great nuisance to the others in the suit, but we can be thankful for the side effect of having documented five generations of relationships.  We can also speculate this may be an action sponsored by Protestants against their Catholic recusant relatives.

It may be that Richard9's uncle Sir Robert Litton (who was a high official to Henry VII) was influential having his Blackwell relations move to Hertfordshire in the late 1400's. Littons are found in Hertfordshire in the 1600's. Certainly Sir Robert Litton was a source of patronage to his nephews and other relatives.  Also Robert Blackwell clerk 1483, and one of the Masters of the King's Chancery in 1499 may have been equally influential. Richard, Robert, and this William may have been brothers or cousins. More research is needed.

The case shows the following six generations of relationships which I augment with Bagshaw land records (Bnnnn) from the Sheffield Archive and Lichfield wills :

  1. William9 Blackwell( A William left his 1514 will at (158 Walingford)St Albans Herts. The will mentions his son Robert and daughters Agnes, Isabel, & Elizabeth, and a Philip. But the court case filed in1575-1587 says he died some 80 years ago. I need this will and a 1480 Chancery Proceedings court case C.1/33/22 that mentions a William and wife Alice. More evident is needed to prove this link. )
    1. John10 Blackwell. the eldest son of William 10 according to the court case.
      (he may be the John B. witness of Thomas10 Blackwell will of 1554).
      1. Robert11 Blackwell (son of John according to the court case).
        1. Humphrey12 Blackwell, yeoman of Litton.  He is mentioned in the following:
          B2048 quitclaim to Robert Hardy sold messuage to John Marshall in 1546/7;
          B2050 quitclaim to Richard Chapman of Hope, 1547;
          B2051 exchange with Richard Chapman of Hope
          acre abutting Malkinyard with toft and the Salterferd 1547.
          1. Ellis13 Blackwell. Alive in 1588 in the court case. Land records in the Bagshaw Collection imply his son Adam. Perhaps Humphrey is Adam's son not his brother?:
            1. Humphrey14 Blackwell (d.1639) m. Anne.
              His will says he got his lands from Humphrey.
              1. George15 Blackwell, inherited in 1639 the farm and house of his father (d.1687 Lichfield wills). see Litton Blackwells.
    2. Robert10 Blackwell, the youngest son of William10 in the court case.
      1. Philip11 Blackwell ( d.<1547) m. Agnes
      2. Agnes11 Blackwell (the elder) m. Roger Hardy
        1. Robert12 Hardy, husbandman of Sutton Bonyngton, Notts.
          B2049 quitclaim to George Eyre of Abney in 1546/7.
      3. Agnes11 Blackwell (the younger) m. Thurston Chapman
        1. Richard12 Chapman of Hope, mentioned in:
          B2052 feoffment to Ellis Staleye yeoman of Redseates
          Messuage and close called Malkencrofte.
          B2053 feoffment from Ellis Staleye to Thomas Sympson (any relation to Richard Sympson the priest hung by the Protestants?)
      4. Margaret11 Blackwell m. Stephen North
        1. Margaret12 m. ____ Frost (widow Frost in the court case C3/209/78).
          (Someone should check Waters for North and Frost wills)

Perhaps John10 and Robert11 Blackwell did not live in Litton, and so allowed Robert10 and Philip11 to use the lands they received as eldest sons. But after Philip died Humphrey12 came to take possession of at least some of those lands, other lands going to Philip's nephews.

It is intriguing to consider the possibility that the earliest Blackwells who appear in Watford may be the cousins or children or grandchildren of William Blackwell parson of Ash in Kent and later of Stevenage Hertfordshire and his brother Robert Blackwell of Bedfordshire, who probably was a master clerk in chancery in 1499.

It is interesting to note mention of Sir William Litton of Hertfordshire in 1636 (HMSSC Rep.4 p.292) probably a descendent of Sir Robert Litton (HMSSC Rep.6 p.469b); where are their wills? For example in addition to Richard Blackwell (d.1547) progenitor of the Watford Blackwell line there are other Watford Blackwells:

(extracted from the work of Philip Blackwell)

Robert Blackwell is noted having 4 children in Watford:

John Blackwell ? m.1544 An__ Spencer at Watford.

Thomas Blackwell

These three Blackwells may be Richard's (d.1547) children not mentioned in his will, but more likely, they are his grandnephews. The pattern of names is also similar to the name pattern of Derbyshire Blackwells.

Is the following a possible cousin or uncle of Richard 9 Blackwell(will 1503) ?:

Richard Blackwell of St.Barts, West Smithfield, (Mdx) Bushy and Whitechurch. Will PCC Vox.27 d.1495 Mentions wife Agnes, son William, g'son Richard, dau. Margaret and Alice.

We will need a lot more court cases like the one above to clarify relationship.

Some of my questions are: has anyone ever found the will of William Blackwell Parson of Ash, Kent and later of Stevenage Hertfordshire? Have others collected Chancery Court Blackwell cases? I have several but have difficulty reading them. I am interested in all Blackwell wills and court cases especially early ones.

Philip Blackwell (d.1978) collected a lot of information on the Watford Blackwell descendants (including the Pennsylvania Colonial Governor John Blackwell). Does anyone have his relatives addresses or of whoever is continuing his work?

I have most of his work from Society of Genealogist, London including a copy of his book, but the early notes seems incomplete.

I would welcome any assistance locating and transcribing further records and identifying descendants of these people.

David C. Blackwell ..............email:dc blackwell at gmail dot COM

This is a work in progress 1995-6 August.


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